By Ola Ajayi
Before my assumption of office, there had never been an Ajimobi. I am the first one that bears the name and I will be the first Ajimobi to break the jinx of second term – Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
Given Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s well known speaking abilities, his assertion had been taken as another of his jokes.
But, as the Chief Collation Officer for the election, Prof. Ayobami Salami, declared the results of the governorship election yesterday, Ajimobi’s “prophecy” to the consternation of his political foes turned into a stunning reality.
Since the inception of the Pacesetter State, it had almost become a spell that no governor would govern the state for two consecutive terms. Except him, all previous governors had tried and failed to cross the hurdles.
The casualties of that political curse were indeed on parade last weekend in their desperate effort to overturn it. Ajimobi was locked in combat with two former governors Rasheed Ladoja and Adebayo Alao-Akala who had fallen after a single term each.
As with other governors before him, the Ibadan people, irrespective of the governor’s performances in office, believe you are asking too much to be eyeing the second term where you have several qualified people on the queue.
The intrigues that came to play before he broke the jinx were remarkable. Ajimobi was said to have reserved a senatorial ticket for Akala just to ease him out of the way. He left it open for a long time and when Akala seemed not be interested, the governor gave it to Fatai Buhari who is also a force to reckon with in Ogbomoso axis.
Still poised to ensure Ajimobi did not win, the opposition parties came together when they noticed that Ajimobi might be too hard to beat. But, the conspiracy soon vanished as neither Alao-Akala nor Ladoja agreed to step down.
There was no gainsaying the fact that the crisis that finally nailed the PDP to the coffin paved the way for Ajimobi and made the race much easier for him. There was jubilation among the APC members when PDP settled for Senator Teslim Folarin as the party’s governorship candidate.
Just few weeks to the election, there were so many subtle moves to use an Ibadan indigene so that Ibadan people could vote for the candidate chosen. But, Akala, who is from Ogbomoso did not buy the idea and refused to be part of the plot and hence decided to contest on the platform of the Labour Party.
It was on the wake of this that rumours of a speculated alignment between Accord and President Jonathan emerged. One of the opposition parties was said to have broadcast the secret alliance that Senator Ladoja allegedly had with President Goodluck Jonathan. Ladoja, however, denied it but his attempts to wash himself off the ‘stigma’, was unsuccessful.
Pockets of violence
When all these known moves failed, there was a plan to cause pockets of violence in some parts of the city so that the election could be postponed.
Another factor that probably helped Ajimobi to change the history of the state was the alleged betrayal by some party agents who reportedly compromised and sold out their loyalty for money.
When it was clear that Ajimobi would win the election, his Commissioner for Works, Bimbo Kolade who was moving on the election day was attacked by hoodlums who inflicted injuries on him.
All these failed to change the history which was about to be written. The results were announced and Governor Ajimobi clinched the victory.